It has been another week full of COVID-19-related developments and I would like to pass along information regarding a bill the Legislature approved yesterday to further our COVID-19 response, along with some notes on a “Stay at Home” order the governor issued, effective at 11:59 p.m. today.
Over the past week, the four legislative caucuses worked together to negotiate a variety of provisions for the bill we approved related to the COVID-19 pandemic. House Republicans successfully advocated for multiple sunsets, reporting requirements, and other accountability measures. Earlier this month, the legislature approved $221 million in funding to assist with COVID-19 preparation and response. Click this link for more details on the bill which passed the House 99-4 Thursday.
It was good to see the House come together to help Minnesotans. I am especially pleased to see the Legislation approved Thursday includes funding to support Child Care Aware for six resource and referral programs to issue grants.
As the lead House Republican on the child care budget package, I am proud to have been at the forefront in developing the child care portion of this bill. Maintaining access to child care in this time of temporary uncertainty is critical to our families and to our economy. Some people are not working, others have the opportunity to work and still others must work. We need to make sure people who continue working have options for their children to receive proper care. I am proud of how well we worked together to get this done.
Child Care Grant Program launched
This week the Minnesota Initiative Foundations launched the Emergency Child Care Grant Program to provide immediate support to providers in Greater Minnesota who serve the children (birth to age five) of first responders, health care workers, or other workers deemed essential during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. Grants of $500 to $3,000 will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. You can apply using this online application.
Stay at Home order
As for the Stay at Home executive order, so many constituents have been asking important questions that it is very difficult to answer each directly or as quickly as I would like.
While I may take some time to respond to these questions, here is an overview and some available resources:
Current closures for bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations under previous executive orders have been extended until May 1 and distance learning for schools was extended until May 4.
The Stay at Home order will limit movement outside homes beyond essential trips for two weeks, effective at 11:59 p.m. today until Friday, April 10. Click here for the full order. And here is a site with general FAQs related to Minnesota’s Stay at Home order.
The order allows Minnesotans to leave their residences only to perform any of the following activities and while doing so they should practice social distancing: Health/safety activities, outdoor activities, purchasing necessary supplies and services like groceries and medicine, essential and interstate travel, care of others, displacement, relocation to ensure safety. This is not a comprehensive list.
Workers who provide critical services are exempt for the purposes of traveling to their jobs. This list includes: Healthcare and public health; law enforcement, public safety, and first responders; child care, food, and agriculture, news media, energy, water and wastewater, critical manufacturing.
This, again, is not a comprehensive list, and Minnesotans should visit this link for additional guidance. If your business is currently considered non-essential and you would like to request an exemption from the Stay at Home order, please submit a request to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development here.
I understand the stress, confusion and anxiety that many Minnesotans are feeling during this uncertain time. Please know that legislators at the state and federal level are working together to provide assistance to families and businesses.
Please reach out to me if you have questions or if I can assist you in any way. I will keep you posted as further legislative action is considered.